Geraldine Brooks rhapsodizes about heirloom tomatoes

—Illustration by Kate Feiffer

What ingredient from the summer’s harvest do you most look forward to and why? I know that’s like asking you to name your favorite child.

I can’t wait for the rainbow selection of heirloom tomatoes from Rusty’s Ghost Island Farm. Green, gold, brown, crimson, claret and scarlet, they’ve ripened in the sun and are fragrant and perfectly tart/sweet. I halve or quarter them, depending on their size — the small ones are my favorite. Then I drizzle them with a little balsamic vinegar and olive oil, anoint with my favorite pink salt and the slightest hint of cracked pepper, and serve with a generous dollop of the herbed cheese from Mermaid Farm. There’s something about the marriage of those textures — the creamy softness of the cheese and the firm-to-the-bite, just-picked tomatoes — that is a perfect matchup. I serve this nestled in a lettuce leaf as a first course for guests, or if it’s just me, I eat it right out of a wooden salad bowl as my favorite summer lunch.   –E.V.